This past weekend I took a trip to Buffalo, New York in order to attend the bachelor party of one “Sean Shomes”, a friend of mine from college. And while I went mainly to celebrate the last week of Sean’s bachelorhood with my friends Tony, John, and Andy, I also went with the full intention of gorging myself on Buffalo’s noted cuisine, and while I came up a little short, I still left feeling pretty satisfied.
Buffalo is probably best known for what I consider one of the greatest achievements in gastronomy and general well being, the buffalo wing. A simple dish that I’m sure you’re fully aware of, I recently concluded that the buffalo wing (traditionally prepared) might be in a tie as my all time favorite food (with what I shall get to in a minute), yet somehow, someway, I went 3 days in the city of its namesake and origin without having one. In fact I didn’t even look at one until I was at the airport on my way out Sunday afternoon, and even then I was too full to even think about it.
“Full from what?” you may ask…
Friday my friends and I ordered late night drive through from Mighty Taco, a Buffalo fast food taco chain. The menu closely resembled Taco Bell’s or any other taco chain for that matter, but what makes Mighty Taco stand apart from the rest is the way they handle their cheese. Instead of the shredded cheddar cheese that most taco stands employ (though “authentic” taco stands on the west coast shun the use of cheese on their tacos interestingly enough), Mighty Taco uses slices of cheese as little barriers between the beef and the taco shell/tortilla, which in turn saves you from a lot of grease and honestly adds a whole lot of awesome flavor. I had two beef and cheese tacos on hard shells with hot sauce. I couldnt ask for much more.
Quick note, the wallpaper page on Mighty Taco’s website has what I’m assuming are hand drawn placemats that are pretty interesting, like this one called “It’s A Wonderful Lunch”:
Saturday we woke up around noon with about 4 hours to kill until the bachelor party, so we decided to head back to a spot we passed on our way to Mighty Taco the night before. A small, unassuming shop, built in that 70s rectangular style with the flat roof and short slanted roof that just about every donut place in the 70s and 80s employed, and just the word “TED’S” on the front, it caught our eye in its simplicity and our friend Andy had commented that he had eaten there before and that “it was good”. For some reason he didn’t elaborate on why and we didn’t ask him to, so 3 out of 4 of us showed up not really knowing what we were getting into, until we got out of the car and smelled the magnificent aroma of my other favorite food…
It was a hot dog place and a pretty famous one at that. Open since 1927 and well known in Western New York, Ted’s menu was pretty simple, filled mostly with traditional fast American fare, but the focus was clearly on the hotdogs. Cooked over charcoal on a grill until black and blistered, they were made to order and you had your usual choice of toppings which curiously enough lacked sauerkraut, but instead offered their own house hot sauce. Very subtle heat, kind of sweet, it was a nice compliment for it wasn’t too overpowering. The first time around I ordered a foot long chili and cheese, a regular dog with hot sauce and mustard, and onion rings. All were stellar, with the onion rings resembling more a “bloomin onion” than the usual battered fare youd get from Burger King or Ore Ida. To top it off, each placemat on the trays contained an amusing story about Ted’s which I’m sure makes for good reading when you’re dining by yourself.
Super full, we went back to the hotel in hopes of digesting before the bachelor party, but I was still drowsy by the time we go to the bar. At about 6:30 I was still fairly full when they brought out the buffet. The buffet was pretty good, nothing too crazy (rigatoni, macaroni, mushroom chicken) but I did get a chance to enjoy a fine Buffalo staple, the “beef on weck”.
A pretty simple yet delicious sandwich, it’s roast beef on a weck roll, which according to wikipedia is “is a salty roll that is popular in Western New York. It is similar to a Kaiser roll, but topped with pretzel salt and caraway seeds.” I guess it’s also not uncommon to soak the top bun in a little gravy and top off the meat with some horseradish, both of which I happily did and thoroughly enjoyed.
I had 3.
A long drunken night then entailed, though I didn’t get too drunk because of all the food in me.
The next day was Sunday and my flight wasn’t until 3:15, which with getting up around noon left us a reasonable amount of time to get one of my favorite meals, “breakfast”, or better yet “brunch”. However when we all got into the car to go search for a place, one name rang through all our heads like a siren’s song heard from afar…
So we went back for round two where I got the following:
The burger was really good as it was grilled on the same charcoal grill as the dogs, and the meat tasted like it was top notch quality. I didn’t mean to get it plain, but I’m not a big tomato or pickle fan, so I figured I’d just keep it simple and maybe throw some ketchup on there, and it came out pretty good, kind of reminiscent to when I was younger and got all my burgers “plain”. The hot dog was amazing as I expected, and the fries were also pretty good, coming in a bag and in a huge handfull portion like the onion rings. They kind of resembled McDonald’s fries but weren’t as salty or oily. I left full and happy once again.
I arrived back home at about 6:00pm and didn’t eat anything else but a small snack of salami slices at about 9:00pm, because I was still full from all that Ted’s I ate.
So in conclusion, if you or anybody you know is ever in Buffalo, tell them to go to Ted’s, because it was by far some of the best food I’ve had in a while, and then tell them to go eat some wings, for my sake. Though it seemed like a decent enough city, even if it was a complete dump I would go back to Buffalo just to eat.
Buffalo, New York: 12 thumbs up.